Ellsworth seniors Logan Peterson and Charlie Stuhl each took care of business in their quarterfinals matches during the Friday morning session to advance to the WIAA Division 2 individual state wrestling semifinals Friday night.
Stuhl (39-2) earned a 15-0 victory by technical fall against Waupaca 138-pounder Colby Bernhardt (34-10) and Peterson (38-8) pinned Cuba City co-op heavyweight Troy Leibfried (40-7) after 5 minutes, 37 seconds.
For Stuhl, it was more or less a warm up in his final trip to the Kohl Center representing Ellsworth. Stuhl is making his fourth trip to state after taking second place as a freshman, missing the podium as a sophomore and taking third place as a junior.
“I’d like to say (this trip to state) is the same, but it’s the last time I get to wear an Ellsworth singlet and that’s a really big deal to me,” said Stuhl after beating Bernhardt. “I’m looking forward to leaving it all out there because I feel like I didn’t do that last year.”
Stuhl will take on undefeated Portage senior Jessie Tijerina in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday night. The last time Stuhl wrestled in a semifinals match was his freshman year when he pulled a pin at 1:20.
“Charlie is wrestling as well as I’ve ever seen and he’s ever wrestled for us,” Ellsworth coach Mark Matzek said. “His last third of the season has really been building to this point.”
Peterson, who took fifth place in the heavyweight bracket last year, will wrestle against Denmark senior Gabe Wertel (44-7) in the Friday evening session.
Peterson won his opening match despite throwing himself to his back on three occasions in the match. At the end of the second period, Peterson threw Leibfried to the mat, initially got caught with a shoulder down and was able to force momentum from a neutral position to getting near-fall points and a 6-2 lead going into the third period.
From there, Peterson attacked with a similar move again and completed the pin with 23 seconds left in the third period.
“He just doesn’t quit, he got caught but kept fighting,” Matzek said. “The momentum actually stopped, but he kept pushing and was able to get through and keep fighting off of his back.”